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Sigonella Elementary School's Ellen Jackson properly spells a word Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. Jackson, Sigonella's spelling champion, was one of 26 champions from across U.S. schools in Europe who competed for a shot at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington.
Sigonella Elementary School's Ellen Jackson properly spells a word Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. Jackson, Sigonella's spelling champion, was one of 26 champions from across U.S. schools in Europe who competed for a shot at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
Sigonella Elementary School's Ellen Jackson properly spells a word Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. Jackson, Sigonella's spelling champion, was one of 26 champions from across U.S. schools in Europe who competed for a shot at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington.
Sigonella Elementary School's Ellen Jackson properly spells a word Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. Jackson, Sigonella's spelling champion, was one of 26 champions from across U.S. schools in Europe who competed for a shot at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
A judge writes out a spelle''s answer Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany.
A judge writes out a spelle''s answer Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
Ava Collins, representing Landstuhl Elementary-Middle School writes out a word on her hand before giving her answer Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany.
Ava Collins, representing Landstuhl Elementary-Middle School writes out a word on her hand before giving her answer Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
Grafenwohr Elementary School fourth-grader  Ella Scheuermann reacts after Naples sixth-grader Ryan Rayos properly spells a word Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany.
Grafenwohr Elementary School fourth-grader Ella Scheuermann reacts after Naples sixth-grader Ryan Rayos properly spells a word Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
Grafenwohr Elementary School fourth-grader Ella Scheuermann and Naples sixth-grader Ryan Rayos high-five after Rayos properly spelled ''peloton'' to win the European PTA Spelling Bee Saturday, March 21, 2015, at at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany.
Grafenwohr Elementary School fourth-grader Ella Scheuermann and Naples sixth-grader Ryan Rayos high-five after Rayos properly spelled ''peloton'' to win the European PTA Spelling Bee Saturday, March 21, 2015, at at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
Competitors in the European PTA Spelling Bee pose for photos after the competition Saturday, March 21, 2015, at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany.
Competitors in the European PTA Spelling Bee pose for photos after the competition Saturday, March 21, 2015, at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
Naples sixth-grader Ryan Rayos holds a dictionary after winning the European PTA Spelling Bee Saturday, March 21, 2015, at at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany.
Naples sixth-grader Ryan Rayos holds a dictionary after winning the European PTA Spelling Bee Saturday, March 21, 2015, at at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
Competitors in the European PTA Spelling Bee pose for photos after the competition Saturday, March 21, 2015, at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany.
Competitors in the European PTA Spelling Bee pose for photos after the competition Saturday, March 21, 2015, at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
Katie Orchard, a 7th grader at Garmisch Elementary-Middle School, asks for the pronouncer to say a word again Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. Orchard tied for 3rd place with Patch Elementary's Larissa Detwiler.
Katie Orchard, a 7th grader at Garmisch Elementary-Middle School, asks for the pronouncer to say a word again Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. Orchard tied for 3rd place with Patch Elementary's Larissa Detwiler. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)
AFNORTH International School's Aidan Woodrow-Beckett spells a word out on his hand Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany.
AFNORTH International School's Aidan Woodrow-Beckett spells a word out on his hand Saturday, March 21, 2015, at the European PTA Spelling Bee at Ramstein Elementary School in Germany. (Matt Millham/Stars and Stripes)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany — The third time was a charm Saturday for Naples sixth-grader Ryan Rayos, who beat out 25 other contestants to win the 2015 European PTA Spelling Bee after finishing near the top twice before.

“In fourth grade I got fifth place, and last year I got second place,” Rayos said. “So I felt really good to win.”

The competition went on nine rounds longer than last year’s bee, with four spellers lasting into the 14th round. It seemed it could have been anybody’s to win — especially with the notable absence of the family that had dominated the contest in recent years.

It was the first time in half a decade without a Dayaprema on stage — Dayaprema being the surname of Anuk and Selomi, Vicenza students who combined to win four bees in a row.

“For those who were here and who experienced it, to know that they were moving was like, ‘Ooh, I don’t need to compete against them,’ ” spelling bee chair Sharon Gilbert said.

Rayos said “there was less pressure” this year without Selomi in the running. She took the 2014 crown in 12 short rounds after her brother aged out of the competition.

This year’s bee lasted an impressive 21 rounds, with Rayos and runner-up Ella Scheuermann left to battle it out through the last seven rounds.

After properly spelling “mariachi,” “oratorio,” “olio,” “wanton,” “scampi” and “neologism,” in those rounds, Scheuermann stumbled on “synchronous,” leaving out the second-to-last letter.

Rayos, who had properly spelled “camouflage” to open the final round, had to take the microphone one more time to seal the win with the championship word: “peloton.”

The victory earned him a trip to the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Washington, D.C., in May, where he’ll represent the Department of Defense Dependents Schools Europe.

Rayos also carried away a Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, a nearly 13-pound tome filled with some 2,600 pages of words.

“Just seeing how big it is, it’s kind of already overwhelming,” Rayos said.

“I’ll see what I can do because it’s my first time in D.C. So I’ll see how far I can make it.”

Scheuermann, who tied for fourth in 2014, beamed at her second-place finish, high-fiving Rayos on stage after his win.

“To be second place, that’s a big deal,” the Grafenwöhr Elementary School student said.

Scheuermann said she thinks she “struggled with the moment” as she misspelled her final word, but she’d already moved past the mistake as the contestants broke for lunch.

“I could probably spell it right right now,” she said. “s-y-n-c-h-r-o-n-o-u-s.”

millham.matthew@stripes.com​

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